With Rugby Win, Fiji Gets Its First Gold Medal Ever

Rugby Sevens was added to these Olympics in 2009 and the Fijians have been honing their national sport ever since

The Fiji rugby sevens squad has secured the country's first Olympic gold medal Thursday, trouncing Great Britain in the final.

It's the small island nation's first Olympic medal at all — a stat the world series champions set out for Rio to change. Fiji beat tournament upstart Japan 20-5 in the semifinals to secure the medal, then defeated Great Britain 43-7 to win gold.

"The history Fiji have had in sevens in the last 50 years, there's going to be very little words in the changing room before the (final) game," Fiji coach Ben Ryan said. "They know exactly what's at stake.

"They want a gold. This has been our goal: silver's not good enough and gold is, we're one step away from that now."

Rugby is back in the Olympics for the first time since a 15-a-side tournament was played in 1924. The International Olympic Committee took the decision in 2009 to add the sevens format for Rio, and the Fijians have been honing their national sport ever since.

Lomano Lemeki, one of the stars in Japan's remarkable run to the medal round, said Fiji's ability to unload the ball from anywhere was too difficult to contain.

"There's still a medal up for grabs, though," he said. "No doubt we can still win a bronze."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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